Rick Vines (1975) Drums
It all started in the New Trier West Lab Jazz Ensemble during my freshman and sophomore years and culminated in joining the Recording Jazz Ensemble for my Junior and Senior years. Jazz Ensemble became my primary focus throughout High School.
On the first day of Freshman orientation in 1971, I heard the Jazz Ensemble sounds all the way from the other side of the campus (which itself seemed huge at the time). My friend and I managed to locate where the sound was coming from, and I remember looking through the tiny window in the band room door and just being in shock at what I was seeing and hearing. This band sounded like nothing that I had ever imagined. We looked at each other in astonishment. Needless to say, it made a huge impression, on me, that changed my whole outlook toward high school.
Joining the NTW Jazz Ensemble Program was a huge achievement, and I recognized, right from the beginning, how fortunate I was to have become involved. We were performing difficult and really cool tunes for a high school Jazz Band! There was nothing like being in that room, sitting at the drums, at 16 years of age, surrounded by a swinging band. I would say that maybe the single biggest thing I learned was ‘how to swing’ which sounds simple, but it is not. Through the Jazz Program at New Trier, I was introduced to a new musical world and the opportunity and experience that gave me a musical foundation that I have used my entire life.
I remember my final concert with the Jazz Ensemble, at Ravinia Park, a famous venue in Highland Park, Illinois. It was a beautiful day and I felt like I was in top form and the band sounded great. I was on top of the world.
My first year of college was at Jacksonville University, in Florida. I was in Jazz Band there but somehow, someone passed my name to a Band Leader from Las Vegas who also had a Big Band in Jacksonville that specialized in playing big society gigs. I auditioned and got in. I was the youngest guy in the band by 30 years. I had to wear a tuxedo. We played old school big band stuff and it was a good learning experience.
I transferred to the Berklee College of Music, for the next year, and stayed there for three straight semesters. I learned a lot at Berklee but ended up leaving after 3 semesters.
I moved back to Wilmette and started playing in the Dave Gordon/Jack Gallagher Quartet. Dave is a great piano player who also went to New Trier, but I never knew him there. Jack is an amazing guitar player and both he and Dave went to Berklee, but I never saw either of them there. We played at various clubs throughout the city and had a great time. They still play together! When I moved home, I had started a business in the fledgling computer industry, and I stopped playing to focus on the business.
I got back into music in the late eighty’s with an Alternative Band called (wait for it) The Righteous Hulaeels. It was a lot of fun and we played around town at Gaspars (Now Schubas), Lounge Ax, and Metro. We recorded some songs, and which are now on Spotify and You Tube.
Most recently, I stopped playing drums and began playing guitar and piano and have been writing songs for the past 6 years. I recorded an album that was co-produced by Anne Heaton and features an amazing band (Chris Siebold, Gerald Dowd, and Tad Santos). I had a CD release show at S.P.A.C.E. in 2017 on my 60th Birthday. That will be a hard experience to top!
I still write about a song a week and record the demos and post to Soundcloud and YouTube.
So, to sum it up, I guess I am yet just another New Trier West Jazz Ensemble alum who recognizes that the experience as a member of the New Trier High School Recording Jazz Ensemble was something that, throughout my life, proved to be so pervasive.
Rick has a broad music sensibility that draws from Folk, Jazz, Rock, and the New Orleans sound. He incorporates all these elements into an honest and straightforward expression of extraordinary songwriting that is not over crafted. He has a warm and almost conversational delivery that can be both intimate and stark, sometimes in the same song.
Decades as a Jazz Drummer, a stint studying composition at Berklee College of Music, and playing drums in an alternative band in the 90’s are unlikely preparation for life-long musician Rick Vines in his latest incarnation as a singer/songwriter. But it seems to be working.
Rick writes songs that are insightful and haunting with a laid back and soulful feel. Rick has a broad music sensibility that draws from Folk, Jazz, Rock, and the New Orleans sound. He incorporates all these elements into an honest and straightforward expression of extraordinary songwriting that is not over crafted. He has a warm and almost conversational delivery that can be both intimate and stark, sometimes in the same song.